Archive | Vol. 11/2018 | No. 1
Dries, Christian [Publishing editor]
Editorial: Günther Anders aktuell / Dries, Christian [Autor:in] – 2018
„Passivity in the costume of activity“ : on Günther Anders’s critique of cybernetic politics in the age of the „total machine“
Maschewski, Felix; Nosthoff, Anna-Verena
Various media-theoretical studies have recently characterized the fourth in- dustrial revolution as a process of all-encompassing technicization and cy- bernetization. Against this background, this paper seeks to show the timely and critical potential of Günther Anders’s magnum opus Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen vis-à-vis the ever-increasing power of cybernetic devices and networks. Anders has both witnessed, and negotiated, the process of cyber- netization from its very beginning, having criticised not only its tendency of automatization and expansion, but also the circular logic and the “integral power” it rests upon, including the destructive consequences for the consti- tution of the political and the social. In this vein, Anders’s oeuvre can indeed shed new light on the techno-logically organized milieus of the contempo- rary digital regime. The aim of the essay is, thus, not only to emphasize the contemporariness of Anders’s critical thought, but also use it to frame a cri- tique vis-à-vis current neo-technocratic and, ultimately, post-political con- cepts, such as “algorithmic regulation”, “smart states”, “direct technocracy”, and “government as platform”. The essay finally seeks to, through Anders’s lens, address the question of the position and role of the critic in relation to ever expanding technical environments.
What should we do with our feelings? On destructive plasticity in the writings of Günther Anders and Catherine Malabou
The article draws a comparison between some motifs in the writings of Günther Anders and Catherine Malabou. It begins with an outline of Ma- labou’s concept of (neuro)plasticity and its three main aspects and focuses on the importance of the notion of destructiveness as emphasised by the philosopher’s insistence on neurodegenerative maladies and sociopolitical trauma. Her notion of disaffection as a necessary component of plasticity is then paralleled to Anders’ critical engagement with modern technology and its tendency towards the destruction of humanity. His argument that the atom bomb forces us to realize that our ability to produce is so much greater than our abilities to imagine and to feel led him to a short but very dense discussion of what he called the “plasticity of feelings”, a notion that he developed alongside the visionary assertion of a historicity of feelings in general. In somewhat similar fashion to Malabou, Anders wants to sharpen our consciousness of the plasticity of feelings in order to make us feel the necessary amount of fear of our own potential destructiveness – and thus of the very real possibility that our affectivity might come to its own end. Malabou as well as Anders thus propose to take upon us an engagement with what usually is deemed “negative affect”, in order to counter the risk of a complete and final negation of affect. BEHEMOTH A Journal on Civilisation 2018 Volume 11 Issue No. 1
Matrix and idle talk : Heidegger’s and Anders’ critique of the media-based public sphere between post- fundamentalism and new realism
In the face of recent developments concerning the public sphere (post- truth, fake news etc.), enthusiasm about the emancipatory potential of the internet and web 2.0 in particular has drastically decreased. The article re-reads two critiques of the media-based public sphere that do not focus on the dichotomy of one-to-many and many-to-many communication but address the fundamental question of what can become articulated in the public sphere in the first place: Günther Anders’ concept of the matrix and Martin Heidegger’s notion of idle talk, which both deal with the dominance of stereotypes in public discourse. By relating those ideas to post-founda- tional political theory and to new realism in philosophy, the article discuss- es whether it is plausible to attribute recent problems of the public sphere to an unrestricted antagonism of interpretations. Contrary to the claims of new realism, it will be argued, in view of the surface pluralisation of post- modernity, public discourse is in need of in-depth pluralisation.
Guiltlessly-guilty in the age of distant effect technology : on the generalizability of the Eatherly case
Bauer, Christian A.
The following contribution analyzes the generalizability of the Eatherly case. The starting point of my account is a reconstruction of Anders’ thesis that this case is a pars pro toto for the fate of modern man given the domination of technology. The central motif is that of becoming guiltlessly guilty in the age of distant effect technology. Eatherly who had given the go ahead-signal for dropping the bomb over Hiroshima exemplifies the tragedy of an epoch in which man can become a mass murderer by doing routine jobs. Triggering signal chains man causes effects for that he cannot assume responsibility. The correspondence is to be read as an exemplum that such generalizable problems are in need of a public discussion.
Andreas Folkers: Das Sicherheitsdispositiv der Resilienz : katastrophische Risiken und die Biopolitik vitaler Systeme, Frankfurt/NewYork: Campus Verlag 2018 / Wolff, Leon [Autor:in] – 2018